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Developing the art of improvisation in expert teachers

Sorensen, N (2015) Developing the art of improvisation in expert teachers. In: The Arts and Science of Improvisation in Education, 8 - 12 June 2015, Stord/Haugesund University College, Norway.

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Abstract

This paper reports on the findings of a PhD research project into the improvisatory nature of teacher expertise. The data is taken from a series of comparative case studies (Thomas, 2011) of seven experienced teachers working in secondary schools in the South West of England and who have been identified as being expert within their school setting. Constant comparative methods of analysis have been used to draw out themes from the data. This has contributed to a grounded theory (Charmaz, 2006) that identifies the nature of teacher expertise. The findings that arise from the data are that teacher’s expertise is best expressed as continually evolving practice, a process as opposed to an end state, that reflects a prototype model (Sternberg and Horvath, 1995). Advanced professional practice is best described as a ‘teacher with expertises’ and this is preferable to the term ‘expert teacher’. The data shows that teacher expertise is fundamentally improvisatory through being socially constructed (Burr, 2003; Shotter, 2008; Gergen, 2009) and that this has a positive impact on the quality of teaching. The improvisational nature of teacher expertise is derived from four processes: the expression of tacit knowledge, relational and interactional practice, personalisation of the learning environment and self-reflection leading to the continual adaptation of pedagogy. The resulting model of teacher expertise casts new light on how we understand advanced professional practice and this paper explores the implications of this contribution to knowledge for school leaders, teachers, researchers and those with responsibility for the initial training and the continuing professional development of teachers.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Conference notes available.

Keywords: improvisation, teacher expertise, social constructionism, grounded theory
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2016 15:47
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2016 15:48
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